Most of us have a vision of the kind of life we want to live. And in most cases that vision looks very different than the life we’re living today. But how do we get from here to there? How do we get from just dreaming it to actually living it? That’s what I want to talk about today. You can apply this information to any goal you might have. Whether it be about fitness and health, a career change, personal development, a passion project, anything! This article is about how to make your dreams come true, no matter what those dreams are. Let’s get started.
DISCIPLINE > MOTIVATION
A question that keeps popping up is, “How do you stay motivated?” Motivated to work out, motivated to create content, motivated to continue working on your passion project, whatever it is. We keep looking for that elusive beast called motivation. Well, here’s the truth. Motivation comes and goes. It isn’t constant, it isn’t reliable, you can’t count on it. So if you want to make changes in your life, if you’re after a certain goal, you can’t rely on motivation alone. Let’s take fitness for example, if you want to become fit and make working out part of your life – some days you’ll be motivated to work out and eat healthy, other days you won’t be.
And even when you are motivated, it’s not always enough to carry you through to the other side. Because anything worth achieving requires hard work. You might be motivated as you’re thinking about it, but even then, after a couple of minutes you’ll realize, “Wow this is hard!”
But you CAN make working out, and any other goal or dream, a reality simply by committing to it and doing it whether or not you feel motivated. That’s where discipline comes in to play.
When I first got into fitness, I was sooooo motivated! Then came my first training day, and about two minutes into my workout I was like, “Whoa! This is so much harder than I thought.”
IT’S GONNA BE HARD…BUT YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS
Here’s the thing. Workouts are hard. I know it’s so easy to look at pictures of a workout or even videos and think, “I can do that.” And you can! But until you actually DO IT, you have no idea how hard it is. When you look at all the fitspo posts and videos people post on social media, where they’re jumping up and down and lifting big weights, they often make it look effortless and easy, but trust me, it’s a struggle. And those weights are way heavier than they look.
And this is true for anything you’d like to achieve – it’s gonna be really hard. Nothing worth achieving comes easy, and we hardly ever get it on the first try. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it because I want to be honest with you. It’s gonna be a struggle. At times it’s gonna be really difficult. But you can do it!
Sometimes it’s hard
To follow your heart
But tears don’t mean you’re losing
Just be true to who you are
– Jessie J “Who You Are”
EVERYTHING YOU WANT IS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
So let’s just get this one out of the way before we go any further. Yes, changing your life is hard, it’s challenging, it takes a lot of effort to keep pushing forward. But that’s what makes you grow. That’s what makes you stronger. Just as all the microscopic tears in your muscle fibers that happen during a strenuous workout are what makes your muscles grow stronger and bigger.
Challenges lead to growth and greater strength. Exercise is meant to push your body beyond its comfort zone so it can grow stronger. And that’s true for everything. All the things you want – your dreams, your goals, your desires – they’re all found outside your comfort zone.
JUST DO IT
So first you want to realize that motivation comes and goes. You can’t rely on it to get you to your desired goal. Rather you want to rely on discipline. You’ve come to terms with the fact that achieving your dreams is gonna be hard work, but you’re gonna make an action plan and stick to it, because that’s what will bring results.
So make a plan. For example, if your goal is to become stronger and fitter, you could set out to do three 30 minute workouts per week, and then get it done whether you feel like it or not.
A couple things. Make it a REALISTIC goal. I hear people all the time saying things like they want to go for a 5k run everyday, or go for a one hour swim every day. That’s insane! Unless you have lots of free time and excess energy on your hands, how is this ever going to happen? You have to be realistic and find a way you can incorporate that new habit into your current life and your current schedule. Sure, over time things might change and you might make more room for that new endeavor. But what can you do NOW – with your current life, current schedule, current finances, current priorities?
When it comes to working out, as I said above, three 30 minutes workouts per week is a realistic goal for a lot of people. So is writing one page per day, spending 20 minutes a day practicing the piano, doing one lesson of your Portuguese course per day, or spending a set amount of time each day, 30 minutes for example, to working on your project. What would be a realistic goal for you? What can you do to get you just a tiny bit closer to your dream each day? Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. A baby step per day is better than staying stuck.
Secondly, know yourself. If your goal is regular exercise, what’s the best way to get it done? What’s realistic? When I decided to get into fitness, I knew I had to find a program that I could do from home. I knew myself and so I knew that if I had to leave the house in order to work out, it would never happen. It had to be something that I could do in my pajamas before leaving the house in the morning, or something I could do right when I got home at night before eating dinner and going to bed. I couldn’t invest big chunks of time for this. It had to fit into my schedule.
Also, I can get really shy and insecure in new environments and around new people (even more so back then), and the thought of struggling through my workouts in front of a hundred strangers was mortifying. It took a lot of time for me to get the hang of this and to get to where I am today. Back then even basic exercises like squats and push ups were harder for me than I could ever explain to you.
And since I knew the importance of proper form from my dancing background, I wanted to make sure I did everything with great form even if that meant only going down a couple of inches in my squats, until I achieved better mobility. And again, doing all of that in front of strangers was not an option for me.
Especially since I actually did work out in my pajamas for the first couple of months. I didn’t even tie my hair back. What can I say. . .I did what I could at the time. It was a mess. But it was the necessary first step on the journey that led me to where I am today. Working out in an actual gym, in actual gym clothes, with my hair tied up. #profesh
So that’s why I chose an at home workout plan that was only 30 minutes per session. Because that’s what worked for ME at the time. But I also know of other people who tell me that they need other people around them to get them to work out. They need the accountability of a gym membership, they need to be in a room with other people training and sweating, and they could never work out from home. Again, think about this. What’s realistic for YOU? How can YOU implement this new habit into your routine?
REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION
That’s exactly what you want your new endeavor to become – a habit. If it’s optional, it won’t stick. If it’s something you do every couple of months when the stars align and an opportunity presents itself . . . it won’t stick. If you want it to become part of your life, you actually have to make it PART OF YOUR LIFE. Which means – you just do it. Some habits we all share, or at least I hope so, are showering and brushing our teeth every day. Now tell me, are those things optional to you? Do you sit down with a pros and cons list every morning to decide whether you should brush your teeth? Do you wait for or expect motivation for your dental hygiene? I don’t think so.
When you were little you were taught to do these things, you did them every day and so they became a habit. You don’t think about it, you don’t expect to be motivated to do it, you just do it. That’s exactly what you want for your new endeavor. That’s why it’s so important, especially in the first 4 weeks, to be super consistent with it. Take those realistic goals you set earlier and stick to them without fail. Do your three workouts per week, play the piano for 20 minutes a day, spend those 10 minutes per day learning Portuguese, write those 500 words per day, make your green smoothie every morning, whatever it is. Just follow through.
CONSISTENT DAILY EFFORT
This has been my mantra for years. If you’re anything like me, you probably have more goals than you can count, more passions than you know how to handle, and bigger dreams than you’d ever admit. It’s okay. We are a generation of multi-passionate people, and we have big, big dreams. But it’s hard to change your life all at once. It’s almost impossible to pursue each one of your dreams at the same time. That’s okay. You have a whole life to accomplish them. Just take it one step at a time, one day at a time. Consistent daily effort, no matter how small, will get you there eventually. Know that your beginnings will be humble – like working out in your pajamas without a hair tie humble – but soon enough you’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.
Even if you can’t fit everything into your days, even though there’s so much more you’d want to do if you just had the time or resources, don’t underestimate what small, consistent steps in the direction of your dreams can accomplish. Even if you can’t finish your 30 minute workout, even if you can’t write 500 words, you can do one squat, write one sentence, and you’ll be one step closer to your goals.
Now let’s talk about patience. Because it’s crucial. Most people overestimate how quickly they will progress. The truth is, these things take time. But…
Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it – the time will pass anyway.
This is so true you guys! You can spend your entire life thinking about getting fit, or you can take action. If you keep thinking about it, two months from now you will be exactly where you are today. If on the other hand you do those three workouts per week, you’ll be 24 workouts and 720 minutes spent sweating closer to your goal.
All those little right actions, they do add up over time.
When I think about my humble beginnings with BBG, I expected to see results within a month, or at the latest after 2-3 months. I took pictures of myself every couple of weeks to check my progress. Here’s what happened. I started BBG in February, and the first time I ever saw ANY difference in my progress photos was by the end of June. Looking back that doesn’t seem too long, especially considering that working out is something that I want to do for the rest of my life, but back then, man, those 4-5 months felt like an eternity! That’s a long time to be working super hard towards a goal without knowing whether or not it will pay off. But here’s the thing, imagine I had given up after a month, or two months, or three. Imagine if I had thrown in the towel thinking there’s no point because I haven’t seen any progress yet. If I had given up before I saw progress for the first time, I would have never gotten to where I am today. I would have missed that wonderful feeling of putting the two photos side by side and seeing that my body was actually starting to change and moving in the right direction. And after I got over that initial hurdle, I kept seeing progress every month! Not indefinitely of course. Sometimes your progress will stall. That’s normal. But I kept making big strides towards a healthier, stronger, leaner body month after month. And it wouldn’t have happened had I given up prematurely.
THE INSTANT GRATIFICATION LIE
We’re living at a time and in a society that craves instant gratification. And this has messed us up in many ways. The truth is, real progress takes time. Making major changes to your life isn’t easy. Accomplishing big life goals takes time (and consistent daily effort). It won’t happen right away. You won’t see the rewards for your hard work right away. You won’t see it paying off right away. But don’t ever give up! Because hard work does pay off. I promise. It is impossible for you to put in the work every day and not end up at your desired destination. You WILL get there. You just have to stick it out, even and especially when you can’t see it paying off yet. Step by step, day by day you will get there. Just keep swimming.
And that’s what faith is. Faith is believing in the unseen. Faith is trusting and knowing that your hard work will pay off even if you can’t see it yet. Blessed are those who have faith who cannot see. You cannot see it yet, but you trust and know that your hard work will pay off.
Marianne Williamson often compares faith to a pilot flying on instruments. Sometimes, due to low visibility, the pilot can’t see the horizon. But just because he or she can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there! It just means that they have to fly on instruments until they can see again. And that’s what we have to do. We have to stick it out through the dark times and know that just because we can’t see the rewards yet, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Just because we can’t see it paying off yet, doesn’t mean it won’t eventually.
Some people quit on their dreams due to slow progress, not realizing that even slow progress is success.
COMPARISON IS THE THIEV OF JOY
I can’t leave you without talking about this. Don’t ever compare your story to someone else’s! Even if you think you do, you don’t know their whole story, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, you just don’t know. When you look at other people, you’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. You have no idea what’s happening below the surface. It’s been said many times,
Don’t compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel.
Remember that people CHOOSE what they share with you and what they keep to themselves. And like that iceberg, MOST of it remains unseen.
Overnight success is a myth. Overnight success is preceded by years of consistent daily effort, years of hard work, years of taking the leap without seeing it pay off. You just have to stick it out, keep taking action in the direction of your dreams, and never give up.
Literally the best advice I can give you, no matter what your goals are, is to take it one step at a time, put in that consistent daily effort in the direction of your dreams, remember that even baby steps are moving you closer to your dreams, have infinite patience, and infinite faith, trusting and knowing (and you can know that) that your hard work WILL pay off. You will get there, one step at a time, one day at a time.
You haven’t seen the best of me
I’m still working on my masterpiece
–Jessie J “Masterpiece”
Finally, some people would say that it is selfish to follow your dreams. But I believe that the world would be a better place if we all followed our dreams. Think about your favorite musicians, your favorite artists, your favorite authors, your favorite singers, your favorite YouTubers, your favorite bloggers, your favorite restaurants, your favorite movies, your favorite tv shows, . . . Think about all the joy that these people’s creations bring to you every single day. What if they hadn’t followed their dreams? Think about what you’d be missing if they hadn’t gone for it. And know that right now there’s someone who’s missing what you have to offer. Even if your goal seems to only be about you, like getting healthy and fit, trust me, whatever your goal is, it will have positive repercussions throughout the world. For example, when you start taking care of yourself, eating healthy, and working out regularly, you’re gonna inspire the people around you to do the same. And that’s just ONE way that you achieving your goal of getting healthy and fit can benefit others. God knows what He’s doing. And He wouldn’t give you a desire, a dream, or a vision if it wasn’t for the higher good of all. It will all make sense looking backward. Just remember, the world is a better place when you’re following your dreams. Take this to heart. You living your best life benefits all of us. As Wayne Dyer said,
DON’T DIE WITH THE MUSIC STILL INSIDE YOU
The gifts you have are not for you alone.
-A Course in Miracles
I hope this was helpful. Now tell me…
What’s your realistic plan, what’s that realistic action step you can start implementing into your routine that will get you one step closer (even half a step closer) to your desired destination each day?
Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation.
You can do it. I believe in you.
With love and faith,
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